Peter Yarrow

Perhaps no one personified the folk music trend of the 1960s like Peter, Paul and Mary.

With a repertoire that included not only their own songs but covers of songs by Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan, Peter Paul and Mary became superstars.

One of their most enduring hits was the wildly popular, to this day, Puff the Magic Dragon.

But it wasn’t until 2007 that the story of Puff the Magic Dragon was turned into an illustrated children’s book. That was the effort of Peter Yarrow, the co-writer of the song. And the book turned into a huge, huge commercial success.

That year is when I first met Peter yarrow, and we talked about his book about puff. A couple of years later we had another interview when he came out with another similar book based on their song. Day is Done.

And that interview, the one you’re about to hear, happened just a few weeks after the untimely deaf of Mary Travers.

So here now, from 2009, Peter Yarrow.

Peter Yarrow turned 84 in M ay. He lives in New York.

Mary Travers died in september 2009 at age 72


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Capitol Steps

Once upon a Time three staffers for a United States Senator decided to put on a little Christmas show, just a little thing with song parodies and skits, just for entertainment.

They’re little show was a hit and they ended up putting on that show for a few other small private groups.

Before long, a few other Hill staffers join them and they’re little events. Became bigger events more organized events with bigger audiences

The year was 1981 and that’s how the capital steps was formed. And over the next four decades. The capital steps became the nation’s premier political satire group.

Two of those founding members, Bill Strauss and Elaina Newport wrote a book in 1992 called fools on the Hill and that’s when I had a chance to meet them.

So here now from 1992 Bill Strauss and Elaina Newport

The Capitol Steps disbanded in 2021, done in by the lack of bookings because of COVID.

Bill Strauss died in 2007 at age 60.


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Eric Burdon

Who knew that a little boy born to a lower middle-class family in England, who grew up with asthma and put up with teasing from his classmates, and like to smoke by the time he was aged 10, would grow up to become one of the world’s greatest rock singers?

That’s kind of the short version of the life of Eric Burdon, who in 1962 joined a quartet that soon became known as the animals. Burdon was their lead singer.

As a leading member of the British invasion, the animals produced a number of hits.

In 2002, Eric Burdon wrote an autobiography, a book called. Please Don’t let me be misunderstood. And that’s when I have a chance to talk with him by phone. So here now, from 2002, Eric burdon.

Eric Burdon is 81 mpw/ Amd still making muisc.


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Louise Mandrell

She began singing professionally in the 1970s, as a solo artist and together with her older sister Barbara Mandrell and younger sibling Irlene Mandrell.

She’s proven to be an enduring and popular country musician.

I met her in the summer of 1993, when she was promoting a series of books she had written for children, commemorating a dozen or so major holidays.

So here now, from 1993, Louise Mandrell.

will be 68 in July


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Gloria Gaynor

Photo: Rob Mieremet / Anefo

Gloria Gaynor began her professional music career in the early 1960s, when she was barely out of her teens. She was recording by the time she was 22, and had a couple of albums by the time she was 30.

But her songs and albums didn’t really have great success- until 1978, when she went into the studio and recorded a song that became a defining moment in pop music.

“I Will Survive” became a smash Hit, and inspired millions.

But, of course, Gloria Gaynor’s life was more than just one hit song. In her 1997 autobiography, also called. I Will survive, Gaynor told her life’s story, with all of its ups and downs.

So here now, from 1997, my conversation with Gloria Gaynor.

Gloria Gaynor is 78 now. Her most recent album was released in 2019, and won the Grammy for Best Roots Gospel Album.


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Otis Williams

It was around this time in 1961 that a group of five young men formed a singing group called The Elgins. They were good, so good that Berry Gordy signed them to a contract at Motown. Trouble was, there was already a group called The Elgins, so Gordy asked them to find a new name.

That’s when they became The Temptations. Their leader and founder was baritone Otis Williams.

And over the next five decades, the temptations establish themselves as one of the most popular and most enduring soul music acts.

Otis Williams in upper right

In 1988, Williams wrote a book that was part memoir, part story of The Temptations. And that’s when I had the chance to meet him .

So here now, from 1988, Otis Williams.

Otis Williams is 80 now. He still performs occasionally with the Temptations.


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Michael Feinstein

Photo: Lepestate

In the mid 20th century, brothers George and ira Gershwin produced many of the songs that have lived in America’s heart for decades.

With George’s melodies and Ira’s lyrics, tunes like “Someone to Watch Over Me,” “Embraceable You,” and “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” have endured for decades.

In 1977, a young cabaret singer named Michael Feinstein went to work as Ira Gershwin’s personal archivist.

For the next six years, until Gershwin’s death, feinstein worked closely with him, gathering insight, inspiration, and some great stories about Gershwin and his contemporaries like Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, and Irving Caesar, among others.

In 1995 feinstein wrote a memoir, called Nice Work if You Can Gt It. And that’s when I met him.

So here now, from 1995, Michael feinstein.
Michael Feinstein is 65 now. He is artistic director for The Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel, Indiana.


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Judy Collins

Songs recorded by Judy Collins have become some of America’s most enduring favorites.

With a debut album in 1961 at a debut concert about a year later and then a number one single shortly after Judy Collins became a fixture in American music, particularly the folk music genre.

But with a musical upbringing that included everything from classical to country to folk to pop. Judy Collins resisted labels

She in fact learned to trust her heart. That’s why she called her 1987 autobiography. Trust Your Heart and that’s when I had the chance to meet her.

So here now. From 1987. Judy Collins

Judy Collins is now 82. She lives in New York.

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Mel Torme

Does this song help put you in the Christmas spirit?
..
That song was written by Mel Torme. He was born and raised in Chicago. He first sang in public and at age 4, wrote his first song at age 13, and was an actor in a radio show by his teens.

From the 1940s through the 1990s, Mel Torme established himself as one of America’s favorite and most popular singers, songwriters, and the Rangers.

He acquired a nickname: The Velvet Fog. In 1988, when he wrote his autobiography, he actually called o. Ot Wasn’t All Velvet. And that’s what I met him.

So here now, from 1988, Mel Torme.

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Mel Torme died in 1999 at age 73.

Tony Bennett

He had his first number-one song in 1951, a tune called “Because of You” — and Tony Bennett has never slowed down since.

Photo: John Mathew Smith

Over his seven-decade show business career, Bennett has proven to be as popular today, among all age groups as we was when he was just beginning his rise to stardom.

In 1998 Bennett finally wrote his autobiography, a book called “The Good Life.” That’s when I met him, and yes, I was hugely starstruck.

So here now, from 1998, Tony Bennett.

Tony Bennett is 93 now. And still making millions happy with his music,